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Apple Daily: Online Demo Showcases Apple Watch Interface; iOS 8, iPhone Adoption Up

If you’re still worried about how the Apple Watch will function once it’s actually on your wrist but you want to be a day-one buyer, never fear: the development team who made the iOS app Pipes has made an online demo that shows how it works in practice. Elsewhere, adoption of iOS 8 continues to climb across all compatible devices, and the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is pushing up Apple’s smartphone market share almost everywhere.

Pipes App Developer Launches Interactive Apple Watch Demo Site

We’re still a couple of months off from the official release of the Apple Watch according to the latest crop of rumors, but in the meantime, the team behind the iOS news app Pipes has produced a workable online version of the device’s interface. It’s a nifty way to try before you buy if you’re aiming for a launch-day purchase.

On a laptop screen, the interface roughly mirrors what you’ll see when you strap it on your wrist, although you’ll have to use your mouse to hit the Digital Crown on the device’s right side. Clicking on an app on the main screen opens it, although most only feature a static image representing what the app will look like.

The biggest exception to this tendency is the Pipes Apple Watch app, which apparently performs precisely like the one Apple Watch owners may use once the device launches. Elsewhere, you can click on the Music app to hear Coldplay singing “A Sky Full of Stars” or swipe through the Instagram app to see a few photos.

And if you’re a developer? You can upload your own app’s icon to get an idea of how it’ll look on Apple’s long-awaited smartwatch.

iOS 8 Now Runs on 68% of Compatible iOS Devices

Its life started out a little bumpy, what with the bugs and all, but iOS 8 is now running on 68 percent of all compatible iOS devices, according to Apple’s Developer Support page. That’s up four percentage points from Apple’s December 23 update, which suggests Apple’s numbers for holiday sales on January 27 will be quite impressive indeed.

Apple’s chart shows that iOS 7 is now running on just 29 percent of compatible iOS devices compared to the 33 percent it commanded back in December, as MacRumors notes. Older iOS releases now occupy a mere 4 percent of iOS devices.

The Cupertino company is currently in the process of preparing iOS 8.2 for release, and it released the third beta for the update to developers back on December 18.

iPhone 6, 6 Plus Sales Lead to Increased Market Share Worldwide

In related news, Apple’s success with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has pushed its smartphone market share to new heights worldwide, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. According to their data, Apple made gains in year-over-year sales in every country surveyed with the exception of Japan.

Kantar Worldpanel’s report focused on the period between September and November 2014, and in addition to the gains made by Apple, it showed that Google’s Android operating system lost ground in many markets, including the U.S. Among the most significant gains by Apple was in the United Kingdom, where Apple’s market share shot up 12.2 percentage points from the same months in 2013 to command 42.5 percent of sales.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Apple to Sell Unlocked iPhone 6; iDevices Announces HomeKit Plug

A new year is here, but you’ll have to wait a little while longer if you want to learn just how much Apple raked in while shoppers were filling their stockings with iPhones and MacBooks — January 27, to be exact. For now, though, we’ve got some good news about SIM-free iPhones and Apple’s HomeKit in our first Apple Daily news roundup for 2015.

Apple to Start Offering SIM-Free iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units in Apple Stores Tomorrow

If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you already have access to a unlocked, SIM-free iPhone. Lucky you! But for the rest of us, Apple will start selling unlocked, SIM-free iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units directly from its physical and online retail stores starting tomorrow, according to 9to5Mac.

That’s especially good news for frequent travelers, as the unlocked, SIM-free phones allow you to switch out cards as needed anywhere in the world without having to worry about the occasionally hefty fees associated with sticking with one carrier.

According to MacRumors, however, Apple’s been selling these unlocked phones for months now as long as the consumer buys the device at its full retail price, although the Cupertino company hasn’t been marketing it as such.

And that remains the catch. You’ll have to buy the iPhones at full price, which means you’ll end up paying 9/9/9 for the 16/64/128 GB versions of the iPhone 6, or 9/9/9 for the 16/64/128 GB of the iPhone 6 Plus. In the right circumstances, though, it’s certainly worth it.

iDevices Released ‘Switch’ for HomeKit, Allowing Remote Control of Appliances

Apple’s HomeKit service for iOS isn’t quite the Jetsons-style automation service that many commentators imagined it would be, but it’s nifty nonetheless. Visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 today got a glimpse into what awaits us in the future with the service with iDevices’ new “Switch” plug, which lets users controls many lights and appliances throughout their homes with Siri.

iDevices calls Switch the “the world’s first HomeKit-enabled plug,” and it works by plugging an object such as a bedside lamp into the Switch and then controlling the object through Siri on an iPhone. The Siri voice controls thus allow Switch users to bypass the extra cumbersome step of opening a dedicated app to use it. If everything’s set up properly, you can tell Siri to “turn off the lights in the bedroom” and off they’ll go.

Switch is small, too: iDevices demonstrated today that it only takes up one socket on a traditional American wall panel. You can access it through both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and it doesn’t need to work through a central hub. Pricing isn’t available yet, but you can sign up for more information over at the official site for Switch (at the bottom).

Apple to Livestream Q1 2015 Earnings Call on Jan. 27

Apple’s next quarterly earning report should be full of big numbers and good news for investors, and the Cupertino company announced today that it will livestream audio from the conference call to the public on Tuesday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. EST.

During the Q1 earnings call last year, Apple reported that it had earned revenues of billion based on the sales of 39 million iPhones, 12.3 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs. Considering the massive popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus over the last couple of months, the company is easily poised to beat those most of those figures for the upcoming report.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Morning Report: iPhone 6 Now Ships in a Day, FlowVella, Apple TV ABC Update

FlowVella

Our Friday Morning Report has some very good news for iPhone 6 shoppers in need of a last-minute holiday gift, as shipping estimates for all but the 128GB models finally improve to a single business day. We’re also spreading joy for fans of the Flowboard presentation software, and cord-cutters with an Apple TV can now watch full episodes of ABC shows without a cable subscription. Wrap up the work week on a high note by clicking ahead!

Apple Now Ships Most iPhone 6 Models in 1 Business Day

If you’re in the market for an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Online Store may very well look like Santa Claus right now — assuming you want 16GB or 64GB, that is. According to MacRumors, shipment times for all carriers and colors have improved to just a single business day in the U.S. online store, with the larger capacity 128GB model the only one still languishing behind with a three-to-five day shipping estimate.

Americans aren’t the only ones to enjoy the shorter wait times, with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Thailand, Philippines, and other countries also showing a big improvement over estimates from earlier this month. Sadly, that won’t help your decision as to which model to buy, but it will get your choice in your hands that much sooner.

Flowboard Rebrands as FlowVella, Debuts Mac Presentation App

The folks at Flowboard announced a complete rebranding Thursday, with the company’s flagship presentation software now known as FlowVella. The change has been coordinated alongside the launch of FlowVella for Mac at the discounted price of just .99 (down from .99), which adds new presenter notes with display, auto play/advance features, PowerPoint import, Retina Display support, and the ability to import PSD files as flattened images.

A free iPad edition of FlowVella also benefits from the rebranding, and both versions have the ability to upgrade to monthly or annual Premium subscriptions, which now accommodate larger file sizes, adds additional templates and a password protection option, and the ability to track presentation views; FlowVella Education for iPad is also available is also available as a paid option for teachers and students. Existing customers only need to download the rebranded apps and log in to get started.

Last but not least, FlowVella is introducing a new product called iPad App Builder, which allows presentations to be transformed into standalone iPad apps, complete with custom branding. FlowVella’s first customer for this new service is Seattle’s EMP Museum, which has used the product to launch two new exhibits.

Apple TV WATCH ABC Channel Offers Cable-Free Full Episodes

ABC announced that Apple TV owners are being treated to the sam special benefit already enjoyed by iOS users: The ability to watch full episodes of the network’s television shows from the WATCH ABC channel without the need to sign in with a cable or satellite subscription.

Sure, it’s a baby step closer to the cord-cutting many of us dream of, and you’ll still need to link up with your provider in order to watch live TV streams, but chances are many readers will be unaffected by that requirement anyway, given that live video is only available in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Morning Report: Apple Pay Covers 90% of US Credit Cards, iPhone 6 Tops Google Search

Apple Pay with Touch ID

Judging from Google’s top search trends for 2014, desktop and mobile users were eager to find out more about Apple’s iPhone 6, which topped the charts more than any other consumer electronics device. Our Tuesday Morning Report has more on that as well as how Apple Pay is poised to dominate U.S. credit card purchases, and rumors of a new streaming music service from hardware maker Bose. Go forth, click, and read!

Apple Pay Dominates U.S. Credit Card Purchase Volume

The New York Times today reported that Apple’s fledgling mobile payment service has added “dozens” of new banks and retail stores in recent weeks, with 10 new Apple Pay banks including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank coming into the fold next Tuesday, just in time for last-minute holiday shopping.

With the recently added banks, Apple Pay is now poised to support “about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States” — an impressive metric, but one that probably won’t mean much to iPhone 6 users without supported credit and debit cards, or those who shop at stores where the service is not accepted.

Apple is clearly looking at the long game, however, and with good reason: Recent Forrester Research estimates that the volume of U.S. mobile payments could reach 2 billion by 2019, and thus far Apple Pay has succeeded where competing services such as Google Wallet and SoftCard (formerly ISIS Mobile Wallet) have floundered.

iPhone 6 Tops Google’s Trending Search List for 2014

Ouch, that’s gotta hurt: Google released a list of top search trends for the year, and in the Consumer Electronics category, it was Apple who came out top tog for 2014, thanks to the iPhone 6 landing at number one. To be fair, the remainder of the top five is made up entirely of devices running Google’s Android operating system, with the Samsung Galaxy S5 in second place, followed by Nexus 6, Moto G, and Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Apple also turned up two more times in the top 10, with the as-yet unreleased Apple Watch falling at number eight, while the iPad Air rounded out the list as the tenth most searched-for consumer electronics device.

Bose Reportedly Gearing Up for Streaming Music Service

Apple may soon have good reason to yank Bose products from store shelves: VentureBeat reported Monday the iconic audio hardware maker is said to be moving “quickly” to launch a “next generation streaming music platform” to rival the likes of Spotify, Rdio, and Apple-owned Beats Music. The report actually goes so far as to imply that the recent removal of Bose hardware from Apple’s online and retail stores could indeed have something to do with the planned streaming service.

Although Bose did not respond to the rumor, the company is said to be in the process of hiring a Senior User Experience Designer of Cloud Music Services, which specifically calls out for “an expert Experience Designer to lead design and prototyping of our next generation streaming music platform and ecosystem of products” in a job listing — not to mention shamelessly mentioning a desire to hire someone with experience at a streaming music rival, such as Beats Music, Pandora, or Google Play.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Morning Report: Apple Happy Holidays, iPhone 6 Demand, New iPod Testimony

Apple "The Song" commercial

How’s the holiday shopping going so far? There are only 10 shopping days left before Christmas, but our Monday Morning Report will attempt to calm your frayed nerves with a new Apple holiday-themed commercial, details on iPhone 6 demand, and an update on the iPod antitrust case for good measure. Read all about it in just one click ahead!

Apple Tugs at Seasonal Heartstrings with Latest Commercial

Cupertino is back with another Happy Holidays commercial, this time in the form of a 90-second spot entitled “The Song,” which popped up Sunday on Apple.com. Similar in style to last year’s “Misunderstood” commercial, this one features a girl who finds an old record featuring a message from her grandmother to her grandfather, who weren’t able to be together for the holidays back in 1952, along with the grandmother singing “Love Is Here To Stay.”

The girl then fires up her MacBook, studying the song and creating her own version along with accompanying vocals alongside her grandmother’s voice. The end results are put on an iPad mini as a surprise holiday gift for the grandmother, who is naturally brought to tears as she looks through old photographs from the same era as she listens to the modernized duet with her granddaughter.

“From one gift come many. This holiday season, give the gifts of creativity, music, art, thoughtfulness, and generosity. A gift from Apple has the power to inspire in countless ways,” Apple’s web page for “The Song” reads. The full video is embedded below.

 

Apple Still Catching Up to iPhone 6 Demand at Year-End

AppleInsider reported Monday on “overwhelming” demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus still has Apple scrambling to catch up as 2014 winds to a close. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster anticipates Cupertino “will approach 80 percent” availability by the end of this quarter, a full 20 percent short of expectations.

Inventory levels of the latest iPhone 6 models are also more scarce than last year’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which Munster attributes to the latest models having larger displays. Although stock availability has improved six percent since mid-October, a survey of 80 Apple Stores found that only 58 percent of current models were actually in stock on November 14, despite ship times improving from seven to 10 business days (for iPhone 6) and three to four weeks (for iPhone 6 Plus) to only three to five business days currently.

Former iTunes Engineer Details Efforts to Block Non-iTunes Music

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that attorneys for a federal antitrust case against Apple found an “unwilling witness” in former iTunes engineer Rod Schultz, who testified Friday that had worked on a project “intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients,” which included making sure that third-party players were unable to use music purchased from Apple.

Schultz made clear that he “did not want to be talking about” the work he did on iTunes back in 2006-2007, an experience he would later detail in a 2012 academic paper that was not admitted into evidence. Schultz did make clear that his work was done at the behest of music labels looking to protect their intellectual property, with the unexpected consequence of giving Apple’s iPod “market dominance” for portable players.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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